6 German gifts to bring home for the holidays

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 9 Dec, 2015 Updated Wed 9 Dec 2015 18:08 CEST
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Figuring out what to get everyone for Christmas back in the homeland can be a real head-scratcher, but you fear not! The Local has done the thinking for you.


1. Christmastime liquor

Glühwein. Photo: DPA.

Germans have a variety of types of alcohol that aren't beer, a great many of which are consumed mainly around Christmastime. Glühwein and Eierpunsch are good choices, but stores also offer a near endless selection of schnapps flavours - peppermint, pear, walnut, vanilla, elderberry and many more.

As long as you're checking your suitcase, a healthy wrapping of bubble wrap - Luftpolsterfolie in German - should secure it. And if you're doing carry-on...


2. Christmas pyramids

Photo: DPA / Richard Huber under Wikimedia Commons.

They spin, They're wooden. They're super German. What's not to love?
Christmas pyramids (Weihnachtspyramiden) are the perfect gift if you're looking for something that says "I bought this straight out of German household from the 1800s".
Pyramids range in size from small to larger than life and often have candle-holders built in to keep them turning thanks to the hot air.
3. Baked goods
Baumkuchen at a confectionery shop in Grammentin, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Photo: DPA.
Germans love their holiday treats. Last year they consumed 92,640 tons of spiced, Christmas pastries, and there's no reason to think this year will be much different.
So why not share some of the baked goodness with the folks back home? Lebkuchen is by far the country's favourite, but there are many more. Lots of shops sell Baumkuchen already wrapped up for Christmas. This treat is a round, layered cake, often covered in chocolate.
And you can't go to a German supermarket this time of year without glimpsing multiple packages of Stollen - a cake, often with dried fruit and dusted with powdered sugar.
If you want the most authentic Stollen, you can often find the hand-made ones from Dresden at Christmas markets.
4. Beer and Glühwein mugs
Photo: DPA.

If you've ever "forgotten" to return your mug for the Pfand deposit at a Christmas market, you may already have a few of these lying around.

Non-Germans go crazy for traditional, alcohol-drinking vessels, so pick out a few that have old-timey designs and hand them out to friends and family. Many souvenir shops sell vintage-looking beer steins with handles and lids, but so do flea markets for a fraction of the price. These make decorative and pragmatic gifts.

5. Grimms' Fairy Tales (in German)

Photo: DPA.

Why not treat kids to the fairy tales they love in their original language? Show off how good your German has become by translating the stories as you go along.

Or try to just read them in the original German. It may actually be better if the kids (and you) have no idea what's going on since the Grimms' recurring and disturbing themes of severed limbs, brutal deaths and child abandonment are probably best left not understood.

6. Nutcrackers

An exhibit of German nutcrackers from the Ore Mountains. Photo: DPA.
While these decorative, shell-cracking soldiers are more commonly associated with the Russian ballet by the same name, they actually are native to Germany.

The design of a wooden nutcracking soldier or king first emerged in Thuringia and in the Ore Mountains of Germany by 1800, according to the Nutcracker Museum in Washington state. And many of the figures collected by Americans today are still produced in Germany.

Of course, the novella on which Pyotr Tchaikovsky based his famous ballet was written by a German author - E.T.A. Hoffmann.

So in a nutshell (sorry) nutcrackers are very authentically German gifts to bring home.




The Local 2015/12/09 18:08

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